The Kremlin’s chief spokesman has admitted that Russia suffered “significant” casualties during Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In his first interview with Western media, Dmitry Peskov said that Russia’s “military special operation” in Ukraine resulted in heavy casualties, although the Kremlin spokesman did not reveal how many soldiers were killed in the war.
“We have significant troop losses and it is a great tragedy for us,” Peskov admitted in an interview with Sky News.
While current estimates are difficult to ascertain in the fog of war, late last month NATO claimed that the Russian military death toll could be as high as 15,000, with about 40,000 captured, killed, wounded or missing.
Russia has only publicly admitted a few hundred deaths, but last month a pro-Kremlin newspaper was quick to delete an article claiming that 10,000 Russian soldiers had died.
The Russian spokesman also refrained from saying how many civilians have been killed since the full-scale invasion began in February, saying he would not respond until the numbers were “double-confirmed”.
Peskov, who refused to characterize the invasion as a war, dismissed allegations that the Russian military had committed war crimes or genocide.
Earlier this week, the Associated Press claimed its reporters saw dozens of civilian bodies in Bucha, near Kyiv (Kyiv), prompting Western governments to impose more sanctions on Moscow.
“We live in days of falsifications and lies,” said Peskov, who claimed the photos and satellite imagery allegedly showing dead civilians in Bucha were “bold falsification” and “a well-staged insinuation, nothing more.”
“We deny that the Russian military can have anything to do with these atrocities and that bodies were shown on the streets of Bucha,” the Kremlin spokesman said.
Peskov further scoffed at the idea of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin being tried by a war crimes tribunal, as proposed by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, saying: “We don’t see the possibility of that, we don’t think it’s realistic.”
Directing his anger at Mr Johnson, the Russian spokesman said: “He’s been very vocal in his rhetoric about Russia from the start of the operation, he’s rather non-constructive in his stance.
“We have never heard similar rhetoric from Boris Johnson in the last eight years.
“When people in Donbass were being killed by Ukrainian nationalists when they were heavily bombed and shelled by heavy artillery, we never heard a word from Mr Johnson,” he said.
Peskov said Moscow believes that NATO itself is not a peaceful defense alliance but rather a “confrontational machine” and that Russia is trying to “rebalance the situation” by securing its flanks.
If Finland or Sweden joins NATO, Peskov said Russia will try to “make our western flank more sophisticated in terms of ensuring our security.”
“It’s all about mutual deterrence and should one side – and we consider NATO as one side – be more powerful than the other, particularly in relation to nuclear weapons, then that will be seen as a threat to the entire security architecture and that will compel us too.” to take additional measures,” he said.
However, Mr Peskov signaled the possibility of the war ending in the near future, saying the Russian government hopes it will “achieve its goals” or strike a peace deal with Ukraine so that the “operation” is “coming”. be concluded days, in the foreseeable future”.
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